The Trouble With Eclectic Homeschooling

The Trouble With Eclectic Homeschooling - The Classical Unschooler

I was going to title this post “The Trouble With Classical Unschooling” but chose to go with “eclectic homeschooling” because I think defining the term “classical unschooling” is its own beast. (Which, by the way, if you’re interested in what that’s all about – go read my book.)

But I also chose the title because I think it defines the battle for us finger-in-every-pie kind of homeschoolers.

The struggle is real, people.

I wish, I really do, on some days that I was one of those who knew exactly what style of homeschooling I fell into, that I wasn’t one to pick the best from this style and the most from that one.

Yes, it gives me immense freedom to be able to do so, but it’s also a great burden. Being eclectic means, amongst other things, never being settled in a nice, neat routine.

Lately this concern has centered around extra curricular activities. Mainly because how you feel about your children being in various activities will likely be influenced by your style of homeschooling, if not parenting. Do you think they need to be in activities? Do you believe they will learn by being in a classroom?

And do you need a teacher to teach the things you are not able to teach them? Is music important? Is art? Do you sign them up? Or do you merely wish to expose them to various things and wait for them to decide? Do you make them continue when they do not want to?

If you know the answer to these questions, you, my friend, know exactly where you stand and are, very likely, not an eclectic homeschooler.

Because those questions put me in a tizzy. I do not like a bunch of activities. I have sworn to never be the mom who is rushing from one engagement to the next and driving kids around to various sports and activities they are not interested in. Never, ever, ever. Ever. Not happening.


What do you do when you want to simply expose them to something they might just be good at? Do you force them into something non-academic that makes them unhappy? Or do you pick your battles and let the rest go?

That is my current predicament.

And that is the trouble, in essence, with being an eclectic homeschooler. Of course, this can be a problem with homeschooling in general, but one that is definitely accentuated by a style that tries to incorporate more than one style.

What do you think? If you are an eclectic homeschooler, how do you navigate the zone of activities for your children? 

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Author: Purva Brown

Writer / blogger at – unapologetically blending two seeming opposites.

4 thoughts on “The Trouble With Eclectic Homeschooling”

  1. I’m an eclectic homeschooler…and these questions get to me, too. BUT my kids are older and so I have the gift of hindsight. I forced my oldest daughters to stay with piano, and now they tell me thank you (they’re 18 and 16). I’m forcing my 12 yo son to play ultimate frisbee – and he’s loving it, although he complains every time we leave for practice. More often than not I go with my gut, with prayer, with measuring the kid’s personality. Only a couple of times have we decided that something is just not working. I usually ask them for six months commitment and then we assess the situation. The struggle is definitely real!

  2. I have promised myself the same thing, that I will not run my children all over the place for activities. For one, we can’t afford it and two, we live far enough in the country that even one activity per child would have me in the car for hours. But I struggle with the same thing, how much out of the house activity is enough? We are at church at least twice a week and thankfully live on a farm with other family members. I want to do swim lessons and try soccer at least once but that would require a huge time commitment on my part because my husband’s work schedule would not allow him to help.

  3. I am an eclectic homeschooler and struggle with the same thing. I have yet to find an answer to this. We have a general rule that when we try something new we go for at least 3 times before we make a decision if it works for us or not.

  4. I have never felt I fit into any category of homeschooling, so ‘eclectic’ seems to work for me. When my kids were very young, we just tried everything that sounded interesting. Cooking class! Pottery! Circus lab! I make them do 1 session per year of mandatory swim lessons in the Spring, because we live by water. What was three years of agony for one of my children, is now one of his favorite things to do once he learned how to actually swim. It was more for safety than their enjoyment.

    Now, I let them choose one thing, and it can change from year to year. We haven’t done any formal music lessons yet, but I hope to. Our upstairs neighbor teaches piano, so that’s helpful. 🙂
    Because we live in British Columbia and you get funding for homeschooling, we can do just about any class or sport and get reimbursed, up to a certain amount. That helped us. If we didn’t have that, our options would be few and far between, or maybe a Christmas gift. We hike together on the weekends and that is a big part of our family culture and so I’m not interested in signing them up for any sports that have every weekend games or multiple practice evenings. I loved sports as a kid, but that’s too much!
    I suppose all that to say, if it’s not during the daytime hours or something that the kid is *so interested/committed to*, I’m rarely going to find it feasible for our family as a whole.

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